How to Create a Maintenance Grass Free Garden
How wonderful it is to see a large expanse of greenery right outside your window. The grass is certainly greener on the other side of the fence too. However there is a shift towards a grassless or low-grass landscaping or garden. Grass is hard to maintain. It takes a lot of manpower in terms of watering, cutting, fertilizing, cultivating and more to keep a grass lawn spanking beautiful. Do not be envious of those manicured grass lawn, including golf rages. Those greens are well-maintained - meaning there are professionals taking care that those large expanse of green grass remain healthy and not brown with patches.
There are some reasons why a grassless garden is being considered for most backyards now. First, a grassless garden is low maintenance. You don't have to slave hours on end in keeping your grass green. Second, there is no need for you to use excessive water in maintaining your garden. Third, you would help "green" the earth by not using chemicals to toughen up your grass. Fourth, you have a greater option on how to create a beautiful garden sans grass.
Two Options for a Grassless Garden
You have two options for a grassless garden- living plants or non-living materials. For living plants, you can pick any shrub or flowering plant or any grass-like plants that grow and spread across the ground much like a normal grass does. Some examples are the lippia, kidney weed and mini mondo grass. There are plants that can spread their branches over a large area for cover.
It is not a good idea to just take out the grass and leave the ground bare. The brown patch of soil would be a sore sight and the soil could be blown whenever the wind blows. Soil is soil and there is a great chance that unwanted weeds will grow and multiply in the bare soil.
Another option for a grassless garden is to integrate a lot of paved areas and walkways. You can also cover the soil with gravel, woodchip, decomposed granite, mulch and recycled construction materials. Gravel is one good substitute as it's a good water insulator, does not decay or rot and can last for a very long time. You need to be careful though in choosing gravel as some natural stones are greatly diminishing due to pillaging.
Mulch and woodchip are organics that are cheap. They are good water insulators for the plants and soil and can provide nutrients to the soil. On the other hand, decomposed granite is usually a waste product that can be bought from the quarry. This is great to use for pathways or for loosely spreading around shrubs and plant groupings.
Other materials that are recycled are usually long lasting and cheap too. However, like gravel and granite they offer no nutritional benefit to the plants or soil. Some of these by-products can be toxic too so care should be observed when using them.
Grass will continue to be the standard for gardens but in case you want to redesign your garden and go for a grassless one, there are other alternatives open for you.
Ground Cover with Plants
You can choose to cover the ground with groupings of different plants. The varied textures, height and colours would definitely be a point of interest. The different groupings of plants like: conifers, heathers and heaths, some perennials and ornamental grasses would seem like a multi-colour living carpet. The plants should all be low to the ground and dense. This arrangement is best suited for the elevated front lawn. The downside is that you can't walk through this type of garden. It's purely for aesthetics.
This is the easiest and quickest way that you could turn your garden into a grassless one. You can buy some bags of white or multi-coloured pebbles and pour them where grass is supposed to be. Anyone can do this. You don't need professional help to pour pebbles into designated spots in the garden. Lay down some flagstones or any other paver in your pebble garden. Put in some decorative jars of different shapes and heights. Accent the pebble garden with spots of flowers and put in a garden set for outdoor living. If there are trees near the pebble garden, hang some lantern lights for night use.
Paving, garden-wise, means large modern stone tiles that come in a varied sizes, shapes and colours. There are natural stone tiles and there are man-made tiles that look natural. You can basically pave large parts of your garden then just group some flower and shrubs at the edges of the pavement. This type of grassless garden is best for backyard and around decks. You can lay stone tiles and as pathways and create courts at designated ends of pathways. For a more rustic finish, you can integrate wood slabs into the paving or create designs by using pebbles and other coloured stones. There are a lot of possibilities for a paved garden. You don't have to conform with a rigid design as anything goes.
Why not? Artificial turf has come a long way. They are no longer the cheap-looking-plastic replica decades ago. The modern turf is available in a variety of colours and textures. It looks like and feels like the "real" thing less the mowing, pests, watering, no brown patches and no allergies. You can leave it all year round for it is weatherproof withstanding snow, rain, hail, sleet except a tornado. If you are a "purist" in terms of "natural is good", then artificial grass may not be for you. However, there is a steadily growing market for artificial grass. Let ‘s just hope that artificial grass is just an option and not a ‘must'.
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